Posted on 11/03/12 05:33 PM
This is widely considered as one of the spookiest movie from the 1960s. Director Robert Wise (perhaps best known for West Side Story and Sound of Music), made this to honor his mentor, the late Val Newton, producer of many horror movies from the 1940s.
Hill House is an old mansion with a horrendous history, right from the start. The man who had it built, eighty years ago, was a very cruel man who was married four times. Every woman he had died in young age during very mysterious circumstances, and the mysterious accidents and insanity has plagued the mansion for ages. Nobody has been living there for quite a number of years.
So this is the place where Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson) choses the spot where to put his little para-psycological experiment, to prove the existence of ghosts. The experiment consists of collecting a couple of people who suffers from insomnia or have some kind of clairvoyant skills and letting them live in the mansion for some time.
The three characters who are part of the experiment are; Luke (Russ Tamblyn), the nephew of Dr. Markway, who is quite a joker and doesn't take the experiment very seriously. The second member is Theodora (english actress Claire Bloom), a very beautiful, cynical artist and medium, and the third character, which is the main character Eleanor (played by Julie Harris). Eleanor is a very withdrawn and suppressed woman who've had a hard time lately, with a dying mother. Eleanor eventually gets romantically interested in Dr. Markway, not knowing that he has a wife.
It doesn't take long until the house gets "alive" and despite the fact that Eleanor is no medium (expect from her strong intuition first when she arrived there, that she wouldn't leave the house alive...), it undoubtly seems like he house feels her presence the most and even tries to communicate with her.
Robert Wise makes some simple but very effective techniques, which makes this movie quite creepy. The only thing that I think bothers is Eleonor's monologue (with lots of echoes, for some season). The use of that monologue is used to illustrate how Eleanor's personality changes, but in mine opinion....they could have skipped that echo, it just sounds silly.
But don't underestimate this movie just because it's was released 1963... I watched this movie some time ago with my boyfriend and another friend, and they screamed out load at several occasions (and they are both, macho guys in their early thirties!), haha.
In my point of view, this is definitely a horror movie worth seeing!